A couple years back I listed my top five games ever. Since then there’s been a lot of really good stuff that’s come along on the gaming market, and one such game has has such sufficient impact that it’s found itself a slot on the list. And so, mostly to iterate for myself why I love the games I love, I decided to relist them.
1- Privateer. Again, old school favorite, freedom to do whatever and to hell with a plot, etc. Sort of a very early sandbox in the vein of the venerable and wonderful Elite series, but a bit more compelling a setting.
2- Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines. This hasn’t moved either. It’s a rare thing to set an atmosphere like this and draw anyone in so well, especially when some of the graphics are relatively shitty. But I desperately wish the studio had been able to do a sequel before closing.
3- Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic. Like I said the first time, this game is almost so good it tops The Empire Strikes Back as the best work in the Star Wars franchise. If only there was a tale this good (possibly in the Privateer style) set closer to the Battle of Yavin….
4- Deus Ex: Human Revolution. And here we have the new kid on the block. The game had such sufficient impact on me that even as I restarted for the second playthrough I knew it had altered my perception of games. The gameplay is mad tight, aside from the boss fights which are weird. I’ll let them have that. The environments, while still seeming too advanced for the storyline’s 2027, are compelling and extremely well-detailed. The characters are likable and mostly believable, in spite of sometimes-iffy voice acting. The story is in line with its venerated predecessor and only slightly less good, but acknowledges its greatness in extremely subtle ways without getting hyperactively knob-slobby about it. It’s just plain good.
5- Mass Effect. This opened a whole new scifi franchise but was made by the same team as #3 here. Gameplay is similar, story is again epically strong, and I’m genuinely saddened that its two sequels seem to have diminished the whole thing significantly. This probably relates to the developer having been bought (afterwards) by the most reviled game published on the planet, Electronic Arts.
Decided to also list my 6-10, just to keep them all straight in my head.
6- Silent Hunter III, because a simulation game rarely inspires tension like it does.
7- Fallout, which is a well done, interesting, and often hilarious RPG.
8- Loom, a truly ancient point-and-click adventure game but with a weird, compelling story.
9- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, one of my favorite space sims (a genre rarely made anymore).
10- The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, because it’s another 2011 game in which it’s worth taking the time to lose yourself.